As of today, marijuana has been legalized entirely for both medical and recreational uses in ten states within the USA and for medicinal-purposes-only in twenty-four.
Table of Contents
- Law Enforcement in Search of New Marijuana Drug Test
- Effective Marijuana Breathalyzer Anticipated to Be Ready by End of This Year
- Hemp Use in Early America
- The Hemp Smear Campaign
- A Change of Heart Due to World War II
- The Beginning of Recreational Use of Marijuana
- Manufacturers in the United States Still Use Hemp
- Hemp for Fuel?
Law Enforcement in Search of New Marijuana Drug Test
With more than half of the states in the country re-evaluating the safety and medicinal advantages of marijuana use, law enforcement is bending over backwards to find ways to legally identify drivers who are driving under the influence of marijuana. But because of the length of time that Tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) stays in the human system, an accurate and effective test has yet to be discovered.
Effective Marijuana Breathalyzer Anticipated to Be Ready by End of This Year
Blood and saliva tests have been unsuccessful because although the test may show up as positive, there has been no way for police to prove a driver is or is not currently under the influence of THC. Nonetheless, Cannabix Technologies
is working to develop a handheld breathalyzer test machine that will be able to decipher whether or not a suspect has recently eaten or smoked marijuana.
Cannabix explained that the new breath collection unit (aka: BCU) will collect multiple samples from several users under various conditions with quick results. The test will be extremely precise providing “key physiologic breath sample data under different environmental conditions to determine the effects such as parameters on a THC breath sample.”
MistyWest, the engineering and design firm of the new THC breathalyzer test, is expecting to have the device ready for law enforcement to use by the end of this year.
A question comes to mind regarding the real importance of breathalyzer tests for marijuana. Is it for the safety of American citizens? Is it an initiative for government to get its fair share of the money being generated from the marijuana industry? Or is it another attempt for government to gain more control?
There is no question about the importance of making our roads safe and that stopping drivers who insist on smoking marijuana at the wheel are obviously a problem. On the other hand, history repeats itself and when you look back at how hemp has been used as leverage for government to give and take away since as far back as the 1930s, it tends to create some suspicion.
Hemp Use in Early America
Early American colonists (as far back as the 1600s) appreciated hemp a great deal and used it to produce various products for building, such as, rope and textiles. By the 1700s, harvesting hemp was encouraged in the New England area, as the plants were used to manufacture cords and ropes, canvas, paper and more.
Hemp was so well received during the earliest years of America that there were literally towns named after the plant (i.e. Hempfield). Some of our forefathers, such as George Washington, Thomas Jefferson, Benjamin Franklin and John Adams grew hemp and encouraged commercial production of the herbal plants.
Ben Franklin owned and operated a hemp paper mill, himself. As a matter of fact, the Declaration of Independence was written on hemp paper. Many historians also believe the first American flag was made from hemp fiber. And hemp was also used during those times as a means of currency to pay taxes.
The Hemp Smear Campaign
It wasn’t until around the 1930s that cannabis weed became known as a negative which resulted in the criminalization of marijuana in the United Sates. The initiative was started purely out of jealousy and greed by industrial competitors. Activists emphasized the danger of cannabis as a narcotic in order to remove the hemp product as a competitor.
A Change of Heart Due to World War II
With the development of World War II, politicians and manufacturers realized hemp fiber was seriously needed and a campaign called ‘Hemp for Victory’ or you can use the embedded code at bottom of the page) was implemented by the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA). By 1942, the U.S. Government began to encourage farmers to start growing seed hemp crops to support the needs of the war. The plant became referred to as ‘marihuana’ and farmers were required to be issued a Marihuana Tax Stamp in order to grow hemp crops for the government.
When the war ended, hemp was no longer needed. Farmers lost their government contracts and were not compensated for the crops that remained.
In 1970, the cost for synthetic fabrics and fibers increased immensely. As a result, the U.S. government began referring to the plant as ‘marijuana’ and again classified industrial hemp as illegal to grow under the Controlled Substance Act.
The Beginning of Recreational Use of Marijuana
Marijuana evolved as a mind-altering substance after Mexican immigrants introduced the practice of smoking it to Americans in the early part of the Twentieth Century. The discouraging times during the Great Depression somehow created resentment towards Mexican immigrants instilling a fear of smoking marijuana among Americans. As a result, more than half of the states within the country illegalized cannabis by 1931. In addition, The Marijuana Tax Act of 1937 was created which enforced a tax on all hemp products and restricted the use of hemp for industrial use only.
As the problem of drugs in America began to flare, the Controlled Substances Act of 1970 was put into place and marijuana was included as a Schedule 1 drug (equivalent to heroin) noted as high potential for abuse with no medical purpose.
Manufacturers in the United States Still Use Hemp
Since the Controlled Substance Act was issued in 1970, U.S. manufacturers have continued to use hemp, but have been forced to purchase the product from outside of the country. Not only was this unfortunate for American farmers, but surely it has been a huge loss for the U.S. economy as a whole. In other words, the United States has forfeited on revenue of a high demand commodity for almost fifty years.
Cotton was the substitute for hemp in America. Yet, cotton was not as resilient or as plentiful as hemp. For example, cotton requires to be sprayed with pesticides while hemp never required this because the plant does not appeal to insects. Hemp grows much faster than cotton and produces more per acre. Hemp can also be used instead of plastic, as it can be created to be completely biodegradable (something we should definitely be addressing in modern day).
Hemp for Fuel?
How many times have we as Americans heard the concerns about ‘fuel shortages’? It is well known that pressed hemp seed can be modified into biodiesel fuel and the fermented hemp stalk can be transformed into ethanol and methanol which are healthier for our environment than gasoline. As a matter of fact, hemp could provide fuel for the entire world without damaging effects. Biodiesel is safe to transport and handle, does not include sulfur and smells much better than gasoline. The fuel produced from hemp is not only a safer alternative, but it also extends the life of the diesel engines with its lubricating abilities.
The Bottom Line
Obviously, safety among drivers is high priority. But why are breathalyzer tests for marijuana just now being instigated? Was this something that was not a possibility in recent years? Or is our government simply scrambling on how to find a way get in on a booming new industry by increasing arrests